Delhi: A cruel start to Diwali

In a very sad and pathetic way, it would seem that diwali came a few days ago in Delhi. Blasts rocked three market places in Delhi around 6 pm IST today. Market areas of Paharganj and Sarojini Nagar were choc-a-bloc with shoppers doing their last minute purchases for Diwali next week. The timing of it is really all wrong. Frankly there is never a good time to bomb anywhere. But this just happened before two major festivals in the coming weeks, and puts a complete damper at the start of what is arguably the Indian new year.

Three powerful bombs tore through New Delhi markets packed with families and shoppers on Saturday ahead of the biggest Hindu and Muslim festivals of the year, killing more than 50 people and wounding scores.

Charred bodies, blood, glass and smoking debris littered the scenes as rescuers frantically pulled out the dead and injured while thousands of shocked survivors milled around trying to find out what had happened to missing relatives.

The blasts occurred within minutes of each other, killing more than 50 people, officials said. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared the co-ordinated attack an act of terrorism, adding that it was too early to speculate who was responsible. [link]

Timely action by alert crew of the state-owned bus helped avert a big disaster when they threw out a time bomb which exploded injuring five people, including the driver who is in serious condition.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said 37 bodies were in Safdarjang Hospital while Union Health Secretary P K Hota said seven bodies were brought to Lady Hardinge hospital, four to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital and two to AIIMS. [link]

“An alert had been sounded in all states, including Delhi, for possible terrorist attacks during the festive season,” Duggal added.

The authorities immediately ordered all shopping centres in the capital to shut and appealed to the people to go back home. The blasts threw a damper on the celebratory mood ahead of the grand festival of lights.

The shopping activity was peaking as Sunday is Dhanteras, the day on which people consider it auspicious to buy metal utensils and other objects. Hindus worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, on Diwali for prosperity and material well-being.

Chaotic scenes were witnessed at the Ram Manohar Lohia and Lady Hardinge hospitals, where casualties from the Paharganj blast were brought, and the Safdarjung Hospital where the victims of the Sarojini Nagar blast were admitted, with visiting VIPs and the victims’ relatives adding to the confusion.[link]

UPDATE: Sepia Mutiny has reported on this too and there is a big discussion going on there.

One Comment

  1. Mridula November 1, 2005

    Arzan, the numbers to me look significant (I hope you do not mind my responding here, instead of at sepia mutiny) those cricket fans could also potentially be affected by blasts, I do not see two categories of people that are water tight. Secondly see the response at Desipundit and compare it with blog quake day or IIPM. Now in IIPM case many people did not say original things, just expressed support to the cause. Why not here? Non-rabid posts can be made on the issue. I have no clue why this happened but I am sure disappointed by it.

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